Lollipops Educare Birkenhead - 20/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Lollipops Educare Birkenhead

How well placed is Lollipops Educare Birkenhead to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Lollipops Educare Birkenhead is a well established centre owned by the Evolve Education Group. It provides full day education and care for up to 60 children including up to 16 under two years of age. There are separate indoor and outdoor spaces for the two age groups. The roll includes a small number of Māori and Pacific children and a significant group with Asian heritage.

The centre, formerly owned as a franchise of the Lollipops group of centres, has been owned by Evolve since early 2016. This organisation provides a policy and management framework and a range of support systems, dependent on the needs of each service. Daily centre operations are delegated to the centre director and his assistant team leader, who have begun distributing leadership roles to other staff. Occasional cluster meetings with other North Shore Evolve centres provide a support network for centre leaders.

Eight staff members are registered teachers. They are supported by regular professional development opportunities that reflect their individual goals for development and the needs of the whole centre. Teachers are committed to the ongoing development of bicultural practice in the centre. The multicultural team reflects the cultural and language diversity of centre families.

In 2014 ERO identified several areas of practice that required further development. An action plan developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Education has enabled centre leaders to make improvements in most of these areas. More recent assistance from Evolve management is supporting continuing progress.

This review was part of a cluster of four early childhood reviews in the Evolve Education Group.

The Review Findings

Children are happy, settled and confident in the centre. They have very good relationships with teachers and they play well together in small social groups. Children in both areas enjoy the resources and activities that teachers provide and are responsive to adult support for their play. Many of the older children interact confidently, often having prolonged conversations with each other or with adults. Children benefit from ready access to creative materials and teachers' growing expectations that they will lead their own learning and develop self-help skills.

Capable teachers respect toddlers' competence. They encourage children to explore independently, take learning risks and develop relationships with others. These children are supported well to have fun with new language skills, become familiar with routines and learn about making choices.

Teachers in both areas know children well. They work alongside small groups, responding to individual interests and facilitating conversations between children. Teachers provide a good variety of resources and support children to engage with materials and develop their collaborative play. Some teachers are very good models in fostering children's ideas and enabling them to extend their interests. A focus on all teachers developing these practices would enhance the overall quality of learning.

Teachers develop individual plans for each child to identify and support their learning interests. These plans inform teachers' decisions about resources and activities and to some extent, guide oral language support. Teachers could now improve planning with an increased focus on teaching strategies to extend learning. Children's assessment portfolios feature many good quality learning stories that capture their progress well. As part of ongoing curriculum development it would be useful for teachers to clarify their understanding of the Reggio Emilia, Maslow and RIE influences identified in the centre's philosophy.

Parents and whānau are encouraged to be active partners in children's learning. They are invited to many centre events, to participate in surveys and to contribute to cultural celebrations. Communication systems enable families to share their aspirations and receive information about children's involvement in the programme. Parents respond positively to the online system that allows extended family members to receive and comment on learning stories and photos.

The centre director and team leader manage the centre collaboratively. They have established several systems to guide the operation of the centre and continue to review their processes. As centre leaders, they recognise the need to streamline management practices and more clearly identify progress towards strategic goals and improved outcomes for children. This streamlining should include refining management documentation, and developing and implementing a progressive strategic plan.

In consultation with Evolve, the managers could review the centre environment with a view to de-cluttering adults' and children's workspaces. They should consider strategies to improve the quality of workspace for staff.

The Evolve Education Group is in a phase of growth and development. A newly appointed Chief Operations Officer is leading the management team to develop a strategic vision and rebrand groups of centres while maintaining the autonomy of each service. The organisation has a strong commitment to consulting the community of each centre, to staff professional development and to meaningful bicultural practices throughout the service.

Evolve leaders recognise that they now need to establish clear expectations for the quality of practices and documentation in relation to staff performance and outcomes for children. They plan to provide individual mentoring for centre leaders and to implement quality control processes to improve their knowledge about each centre's performance.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps for centre development should include:

  • strengthening the consistency of teachers' work with children to enhance the complexity of their play

  • continuing to develop programme planning so it more effectively guides teaching practices

  • evaluating the effectiveness of the programme in relation to the centre's philosophy, and the extent to which stated philosophies are practised

  • further developing management systems to establish strategic planning, refine the documentation of internal evaluation, improve the implementation of the appraisal process and enhance the environment

  • the ongoing development of bicultural practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Lollipops Educare Birkenhead completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Lollipops Educare Birkenhead will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

20 March 2017 

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning. 

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service 


Birkenhead, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 43 Girls 24

Ethnic composition





other Asian








Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2017

Date of this report

20 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

August 2014

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

October 2007

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.